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Getting To Know Ras Moshe

Dom Minasi By

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RM. That is for sure. It's like that for Jazz in general, but definitely hard for the so-called free Jazz musicians. Thankfully, I have been working more playing this music, and I occasionally do part time jobs.

AAJ. The nature of the music business has changed drastically in the last few years. Most gigs are door gigs.How do you feel about that?

RM. Door gigs are not the ideal. The turnouts are usually good these days, so that helps. Some of these situations are fairer than others. It all depends on the space. The gigs that have some funding are really great because then you can go to Trader Joe's and pay at least some of the high rent that is perceived as some kind of progress with some. Parallel to this answer I should add that it seems the "jam" situation that used to exist is less frequent. This was a very fruitful thing for the music. We are in our own cocoons now more than before. If you're working on music this is good, but the other kind of practice is the interaction with other musicians. This is why social relations between the musicians are so important and not to be divided. This division is a microcosm of the larger social example where people are polarized in order to give more play to business as usual. This anger at the business aspects of the music is the main factor in this division. It produces resentment and a desire to be too solitary and based on the recent passing of some great artists it is bad for one's health. Being unified can only be a good thing. It will make it possible for the actual original creators of the this music to be a part of a production involved if only in a spiritual way, and it might even play a part in improving in the non- musical lives of the musicians.

AAJ. Is there anyone you would like to play with?

RM. Cecil Taylor. Sunny Murray. Bobby Hutcherson and Connie Crothers.

AAJ. Talk about your latest recording on straw2gold pictures.

RM. It's called Outsight. I feel is a very good document of some of the musical situations I've been playing in. Robert O'Haire organized it as part of the straw2gold series. Everybody sounds so good on the three performances that make up the CD. That's why I agreed to put it out. I think that's probably the only reason! I think in artistic terms. I am authentically not part of the system. But making a living ain't a bad thing if it's ethical and not based on selling out.

AAJ. What are some of your future plans?

RM. I will be pursuing formal accreditation for working with young people in music this coming fall. Not to be part of academic business as usual. I am proud of my musical choices and want to pass this music on. Which is and should be one of the main functions of any art. Art and Jazz especially can only benefit society. The music has a very positive nature to it.

Photo Credit
Scott Friedlander

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